Cold and flu season is well and truly upon us so let’s focus on everyday habits that you can incorporate to support your immune system and overall wellbeing during the winter months.
  • Get more sleep. A lack of sleep suppresses the immune system and make us more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.1 Make sure you are practising good sleep hygiene such as turning off electronic devises at least an hour before bed, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and ensuring the bedroom is dark and cool. You could also one of our sleep supporting supplements, such as Magnesium, and herbal teas, such as Yogi Bedtime Tea or CBD tea.
  • Get outside in the morning. Daylight exposure in the morning helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which helps us sleep better at night and boosts mood which both impact our immune system.
  • Take your vitamin D. Less sun in the winter months = less vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is a key modulator of the immune reponse.2 It is recommended that all adults in the UK take a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter.3 We have a range of vitamin D supplements including sprays, capsules and tinctures, for both adults and children. The BetterYou oral sprays are super simple to use and allow optimal absorption.
  • You can get your vitamin D levels tested with a simple blood test from your GP or you can do a finger prick test at home. That way you can find out how much, if any, vitamin D you should be supplementing with. 
  • Up your intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and supports a healthy immune system.4 Getting plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet is key, and you can also supplement with extra vitamin C, especially at the first signs of a cold or infection. Viridian Extra-C provides 950mg of vitamin C per capsule and is clinically researched to deliver enhanced absorption and retention. Lamberts Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid powder is ideal for those who struggle with swallowing capsules and the fast dissolving, fine soluble powder adds a refreshing sharp taste to drinks.
  • For further immune support take Elderberry, which has been shown to be effective support in respiratory infections and can reduce upper respiratory symptoms.5 Locally made Alchemila Apothecary Elderberry Shrub combines elderberry and apple cider vinegar, whilst Lamberts Immuno-Strength is a tasty blend of elderberry, rosehip and blackcurrant concentrates that is a good option for the entire family.
  • Give your gut some TLC. Did you know that 70% of your entire immune system is based in your gut? 6 It is therefore vital to support good gut health. There are trillions of microbes living in the gut, known as our microbiome, and the health of the microbiome is vital to the health of the immune system. These microbes create a protective barrier in the gut to reduce infections. Pop in to Sprout to chat probiotics with our staff to and check out the range of well-researched probiotic supplements that we stock.
  • Consume fermented foods and drinks daily. They are a great way to support your friendly gut bacteria. We have a growing range of sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha. It is important when buying these items to make sure that they are raw and unpasteurised, as this ensures they still contain the beneficial bacteria.   Unsure?… just ask one of our team to tell you more about them.
  • During the winter months when it gets dark early, stick to earlier tea times to avoid eating late, and then not snacking in the evening, to give your body an extended period of fasting. This way of eating has been shown to have a positive impact on our gut health including increasing the diversity of our gut bacteria.7,8
  • Limit your sugar intake. Sugar feeds our ‘bad’ gut bacteria and is also known to suppress the immune system after its ingestion, putting us at more risk of picking up infections.9 Swap sugary snacks for ones that contain less sugar, and more protein and healthy fats, such as apple slices with nut butter, olives, unsalted nuts, and a couple of squares of dark chocolate.
  • Use essential oils. Essential oils have a wide range of medicinal and therapeutic properties, some are antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral. Essential oils can be inhaled, put in the bath, added to carrier oils for skincare and muscular pain and put in a diffuser, like our ultrasonic Amour Natural ones. Diffusers can be put anywhere around the home such as in the living room, bedroom or on your office desk to promote wellbeing. The Breathe Ease blend from Amour Natural is a blend of pure essential oils to help naturally clear breathing, and the Defence blend helps to naturally defend and protect.

References

  1. Besedovsky, L. Lange, T. and Born, J. Sleep and Immune function. 2012. Pflugers Arch, 463(1): 121–137.
  • Prietl, B. et al. Vitamin D and Immune Function. 2013. Nutrients, 5(7): 2502–2521
  • NHS. 2020. Vitamin D. Found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/
  • Carr, A. C. and Maggini, S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. 2017. Nutrients, 9(11): 1211.
  • Hawkins, J. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. 2019. Complement Ther Med, 42:361-365.
  • Vighi, G. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. 2008. Clin Exp Immunol, 153(Suppl 1): 3–6.
  • Zeb, F. et al. Time-restricted feeding is associated with changes in human gut microbiota related to nutrient intake. 2020. Nutrition, 78.
  • Yan, R., Yang, C. H., and Zhang, X. Maintain host health with time-restricted eating and phytochemicals: A review based on gut microbiome and circadian rhythm. 2021. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 108, 258-268.
  • Misra, V. et al. Effect of sugar intake towards human health. 2016. Saudi Journal of Medicine, 1(2), 29-36.

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Winter Wellness Tips…

Cold and flu season is well and truly upon us so let’s focus on everyday habits that you can incorporate to support your immune system and overall wellbeing during the winter months.